The World in Which We Occur: The Pharmakon
Part of TWWWO Voice Archive
Recorded on Saturday 5 September 2015, 6:30–8pm
SPEAKERS: Barbara Orland, Carolina Caycedo, Pedro Neves Marques
The body and the earth as a remedy and poison. How to heal the partition in the modern age and within our crisis with nature?
The World in Which We Occur is an event series co-led by Margarida Mendes and Jennifer Teets, taking place live over the telephone, and formulated around questions addressed by speakers across the world. Embarking on modern day issues rooted in the history of materiality and flux as well as pertinent politically enmeshed scientific affairs shaping our world today, the series’ premise is one of interrogation and epistemic search. To date, The World in Which We Occur has hosted sessions on the core debates of the Anthropocene, pharmakons (the body and the earth as a remedy and a poison), molecular colonialism in the reign of microorganisms, grief and climate change, and states of reserve and the legality of invisible regimes. It is currently exploring resource fetishism as its primary axis for the Lisbon presentation where it will bring together voices on water politics and earth metabolisms, from the perspective of art, science, law, the humanities, and activism.
Loosely inspired by, and set in the legacy of hybrids growing out of artist James Lee Byars’ 1969 "World Question Centre," The World in Which We Occur underlines the necessity for inquiry over an assertiveness of responses. “Could you offer us a question that you feel is pertinent in regards to your own evolution of knowledge?” asks Byars at the end of the line. The World in Which We Occur unveils incentives or queries as to generate further questions to build upon. It also aims to open up other areas of knowledge and speculation stemming from the core exercise of explicating one’s relationship within the current state of nature, in an era of erratic climatic behaviors. As a curation of voices, each session departs from an assisted dialing room set in an auditorium and is shared with an audience of listeners. The sessions are outsourced in the form of a growing archive.
The speakers recorded in previous sessions include Nabil Ahmed, Cormac Cullinan, Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, Fran Gallardo, Lori Gruen, Clive Hamilton, Stefan Helmreich, Joana Rafael, Rory Rowan, Jenna Sutela, Paulo Tavares, Etienne Turpin, Mi You, Paul N. Edwards, Peter Fend, Anna Tsing, Kai Bosworth, Stuart McLean.
BARBARA ORLAND is a Senior Lecturer of the history of the life sciences at the University of Basel in Switzerland. In 2007-2008 she was awarded the Käthe-Leichter guest professorship at the University of Vienna (Institute of Economic and Social History, Contemporary History Institute). Before she worked as a senior scientist at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, among others the chair of “History of Technology“ (1999-2004) and the Collegium Helveticum. Between 2004 and 2007 she was the managing director of the Center “History of Knowledge“ at the Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Zurich. Her current research interests range from the history of the life sciences and biomedicine, for example, scientific concepts of fertilization and pregnancy, nutrition and metabolism, and biomaterials like blood and milk.
CAROLINA CAYCEDO is an artist whose practice moves beyond the bounds of the studio, gallery and institution, extending into the realm of the social, where she explores systems of movement and exchange, as well as processes of assimilation and resistance. She engages with issues and contexts that affect a broad public on an everyday level; in her work, art functions as a tool for offering alternative models to inhabit a world in which individuals and communities are increasingly subject to commodification, exploitation and discrimination. She has developed publicly engaged projects in Bogotá, Madrid, Lisbon, San Juan, New York, San Francisco and London. Her work has been shown by Creative Time, the Queens Museum, Vienna Secession and DAAD Gallery in Berlin. She has participated in numerous international biennials, including Berlin (2014), Havana (2009), Venice (2003) and Istanbul (2001). In 2012, Caycedo was a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin resident.
PEDRO NEVES MARQUES is a visual artist and writer. He is the editor of the anthology on "Antropofagia", anthropology, and indigenous cosmologies in Brazil, The Forest and The School/ Where to Sit at the Dinner Table? (Archive Books, and Akademie der Kunste der Welt, 2015) and the author of the short-story collection, The Integration Process (Atlas Projectos, 2012). Among others, he has shown at e-flux (NYC), Sculpture Center (NYC), Casa do Povo (São Paulo), XII Cuenca Biennial (Cuenca), EDP Foundation (Lisbon), Serralves Museum for Contemporary Art (Oporto). More recently, he was a guest-editor for the e-flux issue, Supercommunity, for the 56th Biennale di Venezia. Shifting between the theoretical and fictional, his work and writing has focused on technologies of embodiment and crossings between distinct ontologies, including comparisons ranging between ecology, economics, and anthropology, with a particular interest in non-modern systems of knowledge in South America. This has included the cosmopolitical role of interspecies predation and cannibalism in Amerindian societies, geophagy and the diffuse border between pollution, the body and the earth, perspectivist and multinaturalist theories, as well as the historical ramifications between economics, cybernetics, and our current environmental catastrophe.
JENNIFER TEETSis a curator, writer, researcher, and occasional performer based in Paris. Her research and writing combines inquiry, sciences studies, philosophy, and ficto-critique, and performs as an interrogative springboard for her curatorial practice.
MARGARIDA MENDES is a curator, writer and activist based in Lisbon/Madrid, where she currently co-directs the educational platform Escuelita at Centro de Arte dos de Mayo. From 2009-16 she directed the project space The Barber Shop in Lisbon, where she hosted a programme of seminars and residencies dedicated to artistic and philosophical research. She was part of the curatorial team of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.
Prototype Session: The Anthropocene
Session 3: Grief and Climate Change
Session 5: Water Politics
Session 6: Earth Metabolisms
Session 7: The Underground
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